Here's a stat that might make you want to give up on 2012 entirely-- as of right now Star Wars: Episode I-- The Phantom Menace is the 50th-highest grossing film of this year, right after Moonrise Kingdom and right ahead of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. That's all thanks, of course, to the film's February 3D re-release, a chance for George Lucas to add some extra cash to the film's already massive box office haul, and add another bell and whistle to the Star Wars universe that was already really, really digitally overloaded.

You may think the 3D Phantom Menace release was a terrible idea, but $50 million worth of people didn't (and, full disclosure, I contributed to that to write this piece). Now, inevitably, the next two Star Wars prequel are now officially set to follow suit. Lucasfilm has announced (via Coming Soon) that both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith will have their 3D re-releases next fall, with Episode II due September 20, 2013 and Episode III coming shortly after, on October 11. No word on why they're cramming those releases so tightly together, though it does fit the pattern of the Star Wars theatrical re-releases in 1997, which all came a month apart.

September 2013 is already going to be a big month for 3D re-releases, with The Little Mermaid 3D coming on the 13th that month, and in October Revenge of the Sith will be going head-to-head with another male geek friendly film, the Sin City sequel A Dame To Kill For. It would be easy to predict that moviegoers would happily choose something new over 3D releases of the prequels nobody loves, but the Phantom Menace release has fully disproven that theory. At this point it seems smartest just to lie back and take it until George Lucas finally calls it quits.

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